Small talk (or phatic communication if you want to get really technical) can seem meaningless but these tips on small talk show they can help build relationships and ultimately confidence. I find that we live in an increasingly virtual world where people aren't afraid to converse with people via a computer screen but when faced with real-life human beings, are a little more reluctant.
1. Try Something New
I actually picked this one up from from a work colleague and it’s one of my favorite tips on small talk and confidence building. Every time he went shopping, he would make a concerted effort to buy something he had never bought before, whether it was a new preserve or exotic spice. It meant that he was constantly out of his comfort zone trying new things and gaining new experiences which also meant he had more to talk about with others. It did mean I was sometimes the lucky recipient of the item he didn't like which was always a bonus!
2. Mirror Mirror
This is a weird one but let's face it, no one is going to know you do this and I think everyone does this at some point in his or her life. Pick a random subject and talk to yourself in the mirror. You'll be amazed by what you may be able to say about the most mundane of things. It can also be amusing and confidence building is all about not taking yourself too seriously. Life's just too short for that!
3. Expand Your Cultural Horizons
Go to the theatre, ballet, cinema, and galleries. Try doing something you wouldn’t normally do. My boyfriend is a keen golfer and before we got together I had never swung a golf club in my life. One day he took me to the driving range and I managed to hit (rather awkwardly!) and miss several balls across the golf course. Now, I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite pass time but I’m glad I tried it. Trying new things will give you a variety of things to talk about with others. It doesn't matter if you don't like them all but the fact of the matter is the more you experience the more you will be able to connect and engage with others.
4. Read All about It
Read a variety of things and as much as you can. Information is everywhere. These can all become sources of conversations with others. This could be anything from newspapers to novels to plays to cookbooks. Read as much as you can, when you can.
5. A Little More Conversation
It seems that nowadays people are immersed in their own little world. People walk around with their listening devices embedded in their ears, not talking to others. I sometimes I think this is quite sad. Conversation takes practice so converse with people you meet everywhere, for example at the coffee shop or when you're in a queue. You will slowly overcome shyness by connecting with people.
6. Going Solo
Don’t be afraid to accept that invitation to the party where you only know the host who is likely to be busy and dealing with all their other guests. When you’re there, don't just stand by the buffet table and pass the time by enjoying the smorgasbord. Take the opportunity to strike up a conversation about the food or find out how they know the host. Everyone is there to meet and mingle and it can be scary but this will certainly build your confidence. You never know who you’re going to meet, it's a small world after all!
7. A Funny Thing Happened Today
When something unusual or amusing happens, make a note of it. Write it in a journal, and if you don’t keep a journal then start. It can be extremely cathartic and help in a whole host of ways. These are stories you will be able to refer to again in future conversation and that funny story about the fact that you couldn’t hold the golf club correctly because you’re coordinately challenged (okay, so I’m talking about myself here) could be the opening line to your next verbal exchange.
So get out there, experience the world and you’ll find a wide range of things to talk about with others. What tips do you have on small talk and confidence building?